WALKING DOWN THE YELLOW BRICK ROAD

OzTGP

OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL (2013)
4 out of 5 stars

Set 20 years before the story in The Wizard of Oz, it tells the tale of how Oscar Diggs arrived in the land of Oz. His arrival fulfills the prophecy of a wizard restoring order in Oz and overthrowing the evil witch who killed the King of Oz. Problem is, there are three witches – Theodora, Evanora and Glinda.

I’m not familiar with the story of Oz but this adventure seems thrilling enough. The three witches were beautifully portrayed by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams. Even the evil witches are so glamourous. This story tells the beginnings of the Wicked Witch of the West, or the green faced witch in the Wizard of Oz story.

What’s amazing is how Oz manages to trick the people of Oz with human technology. I mean, he wasn’t that amazing in the human world to begin with. I liked the flying monkey, voiced by Zach Braff, especially the part where he tries to distract the witch at the cemetery.

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THUNDER BUDDIES FOR LIFE

TED (2012)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

I was one of those who wanted to watch the movie once I saw the trailer. I mean, the “thunder song” was already a sign of crude and funny things to come!

Narrator: No matter how big a splash you make in this world whether you’re Corey Feldman, Frankie Muniz, Justin Bieber or a talking teddy bear, eventually, nobody gives a shit. 

For those who don’t know, John (Mark Wahlberg) made a wish when he was eight years old and it came true – his teddy bear came alive! Ted became a celebrity, well, briefly. Soon, 27 years have passed and John is in a relationship with Lori (Mila Kunis), who feels that John cannot really grow up with Ted around.

Ted: I look like Snuggles’ accountant.

And the hilarious scenes begin!

Personally, I liked the parts where Ted was on his own, fending himself against the general and creepy public away from John. Especially the one at the back of the grocery stall he works at.

Creepy guy: Are you alone?
Ted: Well, you know, you’re never alone when you’re with Christ.

Of course, who can forget the scene where John tries to guess the white trash name?

And I totally lost it at this part…

Ted: Back off, Susan Boyle!

Well, I feel I do the movie injustice when I write it out because it doesn’t sound as funny as the movie is. While you watch it, keep your eyes open for an uncredited cameo! And of course I’m not going to mention it here, it’s uncredited for a reason.

SWEAR ON YOUR IPAD

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS (2011)
– 4 out of 5 stars 

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis having benefits equals benefits for the audience. They have such hot bodies! Though the premise is similar to No Strings Attached that starred Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman, this one just packs more chemistry between the leads. Woody Harrelson (Tommy) was hilarious as the guy trying to make JT switch sides.

Tommy: Everybody want a shortcut in life, my guidebook is simple: YOU WANNA LOSE WEIGHT? Stop eating, fatty! YOU WANNA MAKE MONEY? Work you ass off, lazy! YOU WANNA BE HAPPY? Find someone you like and never let ‘em go!

A big plus: they used Foster The People’s Pumped Up Kicks during the end credits!

THE MOMENT OF PERFECTION

BLACK SWAN (2010)
– 4 out of 5 stars

Black Swan is a psychological thriller starring Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers, who’s vying for the role of the Swan Queen in her ballet company’s production of Swan Lake. Nina is the perfect fit for the White Swan while rival dancer, Lily (Mila Kunis), is the perfect fit for the Black Swan.

From start to finish, I was completely riveted by Natalie Portman’s performance. You can sense her desperation to break out of her own shell to embody the character of the Black Swan. At the same time, she has to contend with her mother, a former ballerina who pins all her hopes on Nina, and controls almost every aspect of her life. The scene where her mother cuts Nina’s fingernails still send some shivers down my spine. That, and the other scene where Nina peels off a scab on her finger. OUCH! Don’t they use nail clippers? There’s also Beth, the company’s former star, who’s forced to go into early retirement as Nina rises to be the next star. To Nina, Beth is the symbol of perfection and she seems disturbed that Beth is being brushed away so blatantly by Thomas, her ballet director. Thomas, on the other hand, is constantly trying to push Nina out of her comfort zone, through loads of sexual harassment.

Thomas Leroy: Perfection is not just about control; it’s also about letting go.

She starts hallucinating and breaking down – blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. And so, Nina’s quest for perfection leads her to madness. The final scene was saddening, especially after what I heard Thomas call Nina. But at least Nina managed to deliver an exhilarating and perfect image of both the Black Swan and the White Swan.

As at time of post, Natalie Portman won Best Actress at the 17th Screen Actors Guild Awards and 68th Golden Globe Awards among others and the movie is up for five nominations at the 83rd Academy Awards.

IT’S A KILLSHOT!

DATE NIGHT (2010)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars

Date Night focuses on Phil and Claire Foster, a bored New Jersey couple going to the city to spice up their marriage. It goes awfully wrong when, unable to get seats at a uptown seafood restaurant, they take the reservations of a certain “Mr. and Mrs. Tripplehorns”. They get chased by two thugs, with hilarious results and end up getting help from Claire’s client, Holbrooke Grant, a hot and shirtless Mark Wahlberg. They end up in a wild car chase, meeting the real Tripplehorns and going to a strip club.

(There’s even a reference to Sixteen Candles!)

The movie is laugh-out-loud funny though you can’t really recall any funny lines – maybe “You just took our reservations? What kind of people are you?!” when they met up with the real Tripplehorns. You know stealing reservations is the least on their minds when they’re getting chased with guns. Steve Carell is funny as usual, barfing and his over-the-top expressions are just priceless. Especially his subtle signs of jealousy and envy whenever Mark “Shirtless” Wahlberg is around. Tiny Fey is funny too, because of the “laptop sticky thing” as well as her excellent chemistry with Steve Carell. These two should just make more movies together. 3 and a half out of 5 stars.

Last of all, please stay till the END of the credits – funnier outtakes awaits.

RHYTHM OF RAIN

FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL (2008)
– 3 out of 5 stars

I managed to catch Forgetting Sarah Marshall and I must say it wasn’t as funny as Superbad or Knocked Up. Anyway, the movie is about this guy, Peter, who couldn’t get over his breakup with TV star, Sarah Marshall and he decides to go on a holiday and unsurprisingly, meets his ex over there with her new lover. Not a lot of funny parts but the couple on honeymoon is quite funny – in a cruel way, and the incident involving the coral too.

I’m so looking forward to Pineapple Express when it opens later this year – it will be funnier.